What was the business story of 2011?

Volatility made news this year, but with markets ending on relatively the same note as in January, it may not have been the biggest story of 2011.

Adriene Hill: Part of the fun of the new year is looking backward to the economic year that was, and to indulge in a just a little crystal ball gazing to the year ahead.

Joining me now is Fortune magazine's Allan Sloan.

Allan Sloan: Good morning, Adriene.

Hill: So markets today are almost exactly where they were at the beginning of the year. Did all the volatility and up and down actually mean anything?

Sloan: Well, the question is: If you get on a rollercoaster, it goes up and down and swings around, and you get off at pretty much the same place you got on -- has it meant anything? The answer is: You had a lot of fun, and your stomach lurched.

Hill: A lot of adrenaline.

Sloan: Well, that is what we do here, isn't it?

Hill: So what is the business story of the year that maybe we didn't talk about as much as we should have?

Sloan: Now, I think the business story of the year is, I think things may actually be getting better. But one of the reasons we didn't talk about it is that I can't prove that. It's a feeling I have because it's been now, depending on when you start the count, five or six years since things started falling apart, and it's time for them to get better. And I think they probably are.

Hill: Well, that's a story to look forward to in 2012. But tell me that next year we won't have to keep talking about Greek debt over and over and over.

Sloan: I'll tell you that, but I don't mean it. I suspect I'm going to learn how to pronounce drachma correctly -- that being the Greek currency -- because something is going to happen. Now, if I knew what it was, I would A) be rich and B) more than happy to tell our listeners. But I don't know. But it's going to still be a story in 2012.

Hill: All right, we'll look ahead to 2012. Fortune Magazine's Allan Sloan, thanks so much.

Sloan: You're welcome.

About the author

Adriene Hill is the senior multimedia reporter for LearningCurve.

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